Fast Company

Bill Gates Pledges $120M to Fund the Next Green Revolution

farming

The first Green Revolution wasn't really "green" at all. The phrase actually refers to the period of time, starting in 1945, when pesticides, synthetic fertilizer, and irrigation came into play in the agricultural world. The revolution was supposed to bring plentiful food to developing nations, and it did, but it had the unintended consequence of making the whole world dependent on toxic chemicals. The second Green Revolution, proposed by Bill Gates, will be a whole lot more sustainable.

Yesterday, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced $120 million in agricultural grants for poor farming families. The grants will support everything from better seeds and training to market access, a farmer radio network, and farmer-friendly political policies. And most importantly, the grants will do it all without pesticides. Instead, they'll support research for nitrogen-fixing legumes, high-yield varieties of sorghum and millet, and pest-resistant varieties of sweet potato.

Gates' push for farmer productivity is just a small piece of his foundation's $1.4 billion in agricultural grants--a program that includes drip irrigation, no-till farming, and flood-resistant crops. Critics of the program complain that Gates is focusing on technological fixes for the problems of poverty instead of concentrating on the root cause. Still, $120 million isn't a bad start.

[Via Seattle Times]

Add New Comment

2 Comments

  • Nick Panchev

    Bill Gates

    Your quest: "...we need farming techniques that are both environmentally responsible and highly productive, and technology will help bridge the gap..."

    Very Novel.

    Well, Here it is: Farming techniques that are both environmentally responsible and highly productive, and technology will help bridge the gap.

    And much more. The Infinite Solutions, Power-Water-Food.

    While we are to utilize Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF) to operate in Rankine Cycle Solar-Thermal Farm, we are to utilize the same HTF to operate Seawater Desalination Plant, as well as not limited to Coolant Transfer Fluid (CTF), (same HTF), to do the same.

    More? YES.

    How about zero-pollution of ocean water. Zero-kill of marine life. Zero-salmonella and zero-all others, such as microbes, bacteria and viruses?
    We got that.

    More? YES.

    Seawater Desalination by Distillation components, such as boiling seawater to steam and condensate that steam to pure water, utilizing renewable and recovered energy and sources?
    We got that.

    More? YES.

    Super Hybrid Greenhouse, utilizing renewable and recovered energy and sources, growing 24/7/365 high value crops?
    We got that.

    More? YES.

    Disruptive and revolutionary technologies, invented on the principles of least-risk, least-cost, best-fit, portfolio-fit, with a lean and mean goal of for every $1 earned, taking $5 from the competitors?
    We got that tech and much more.

    We do not need any Grants, nor will accept it.

    Respectfully,
    Nick Panchev
    www.esecorp.org

  • Rebecca Cohen

    How can someone even think about criticizing Bill Gates for investing $120 million in anti-pesticide research? Such an underfunded area! Well worth the investment. I'm happy to see the The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, diversifying donations and investing in some healthy food for the world. Go Bill! :-)